Two pioneers in the premium cigar industry—Benjamin “Benji” Menendez and Manuel “Manolo” Quesada—are teaming up for the first time in a new project with Michael Giannini and Ventura Cigar Company to create two blends for Cuban Cigar Factory. Both cigars will debut at this week’s IPCPR Show in Las Vegas.
Menendez enjoyed an early beginning in the Cuban tobacco business at his father’s factory. Forced to leave his home and livelihood when Fidel Castro came to power, Menendez had to start completely over. However, as a seeker of opportunity and a purveyor of fine tobacco, he soon established a new foothold, becoming a mastermind behind cigars and factories in nearly every cigar-making country. His career has been legendary, working in eight different countries to produce some of the best cigars to hit the market.
“I still think about the cigar factory every day of my life,” says Menendez.
The Benji Menendez for Cuban Cigar Factory is available offers a rich, silky smooth blend featuring a Dominican binder, Dominican and Nicaraguan filler tobaccos and a Connecticut Ecuadorean wrapper.
Quesada is a fourth-generation master from a lineage of tobacco growers, brokers and blenders that stretch back over a century. His career began in pre-Castro Cuba, where he first developed a taste for the intricacies of tobacco at his father’s company. Also forced to leave Cuba by Castro’s rise to power, Quesada went to the Dominican Republic, where he founded MATASA in 1974, from the humble beginnings of a chair, a phone, three rollers and $100. Over the decades, MATASA, which is now known as Quesada Cigars, has flourished under Quesada’s intuitive, expert eye for quality and flavor, making his knowledge for the past and present a natural fit for the Cuban Cigar Factory project.
The Manolo Quesada for Cuban Cigar Factory offers a rich and savory blend featuring an Ecuadorean binder, Dominican filler tobaccos and a Habano Ecuadorean wrapper.
“I feel like I’m a Rick Rubin of the cigar industry,” says Michael Giannini, General Manager at Ventura Cigar. “I’m bringing people together—people who I admire, my great friends who laid the foundation of the cigar industry and people of the next generation. The creators and the consumers. Everyone has something to offer. We have a duty to engage this talent, not to let these great minds and their priceless knowledge fade away. They’re now our mentors, an inspiration to us all, and they’re still here. They’re still on the court, so let’s play ball. Let’s show everyone what we can do.”
Both Cuban Cigar Factory cigars are created at the Quesada Cigars factory in the Dominican Republic, in collaboration with Ventura Cigar Company. They are set to debut at IPCPR 2019, and are planned for a late summer ship date. The Benji Menendez and Manolo Quesada blends will each be available in 20-count boxes in three sizes: Robusto (5 x 50), Toro (6 x 50) and Belicoso (6 ¼ x 52). MSRP ranges from $12.99 to $14.99 before state and local taxes.
For more information about Cuban Cigar Factory, or any other cigars in the Ventura Cigar Company Portfolio, visit venturacigar.com.